The Utah Jazz Top-10 protected pick could actually be a lot more valuable

The Utah Jazz may get their Top 10 pick back, but it could be much higher.
2023 NBA Draft
2023 NBA Draft / Arturo Holmes/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz are currently sitting in a unique spot. Having traded away their first-round pick for 2024, the team has a shot at getting it back this season. Right now the pick belongs to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and will remain with them should the pick land outside of the Top 10. If the pick falls at the 11th pick, it's the Thunders. If it lands anywhere after the 11th pick, it's the Thunders. If it lands at the 10th pick, it's the Jazz's. If it lands anywhere before the 10th pick, it's still the Jazz's.

The Jazz's pick could very easily remain with the Jazz depending on how the NBA Draft Lottery falls into place. As the NBA assigns draft positions due to an actual lottery system, it's very likely that the Jazz move up in the draft beyond their expected 9th spot currently. Right now the odds are in the Jazz's favor for them to retain their pick.

The lottery hasn't happened yet, so we don't know if the Jazz's current pick remains with Utah or goes to the Thunder. Regardless, while we've obsessed over the fact that the Jazz could land a Top 10 spot in the NBA Draft, what we've failed to admit is that the team could actually land a lot higher in the draft.

Yes, the odds say the Jazz are likely to keep their pick, but according to KSL, the franchise has a near 20% chance (19.8%) of landing not only their pick but one of the four top spots in the NBA Draft. If they were to land anywhere between the first and fourth pick, the Jazz would keep their pick and be in line to have a much higher drafting spot than previously thought. 20% isn't a stat line to shake a stick at either. It's a wild idea but one that could fully come to fruition.

And the Jazz better make the most of this pick, as the Thunder will eventually come calling to claim the pick in 2025 or 2026. The Jazz don't have to give the Thunder that pick, if the team falls under a certain threshold each season, the Jazz can keep it. Yet, keeping that pick will eventually cause a mass of talent to want out of Salt Lake City and so the Jazz are going to need to ask themselves what's more important; a first-round pick or their best players already on the roster.

Because eventually, the Jazz are going to need to pick a direction.